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Federal government announces $400,000 for Pride Toronto

Marquee money intended to boost tourist appeal

TOURIST ATTRACTION. The Toronto Pride Parade is estimated to have attracted one-million revellers. Credit: Peter Bevan

In what is surely an effort to make Toronto’s Pride festival as fabulous as possible Canada’s federal government has announced a plan to dish over $400,000 to Pride Toronto.

Diane Abonczy — minister of state for small business and tourism, and a former member of the now-defunct Canadian Alliance party — made the announcement Jun 10. “The Government of Canada is proud to show its commitment to the tourism industry, particularly during this difficult economic period,” states Ablonczy in a press release that manages to avoid the use of any words like “gay” or “lesbian” that might hint at Pride’s homo theme.

The hundreds of thousands of flamboyant revellers that cram into Toronto’s downtown core for Pride are to thank for the big-bucks boost — the funding was granted through Canada’s Marquee Tourism Events Program, a $100-million fund created to support large-scale events that attract international tourists and media attention.

In the press release Tracey Sandilands, executive director of Pride Toronto, states she’s “thrilled” with the feds’ contribution.

“The initiatives supported by the program will enhance the festival in many ways, including improvements to the visitor experience and services for people with disabilities,” states Sandilands. “Investments like these are key to the festival’s success and support our efforts in growing the festival each year, especially as we prepare for our 30th anniversary next year.”

In addition to improving infrastructure and services for people with disabilities, money will go toward improving festival programming, marketing and Pride Toronto’s website.

This year’s Toronto Pride festival, with the theme “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop,” takes place Thu, Jun 18 to 28. For more info check out Xtra’s Ultimate Pride Guide, included in the Jun 18 issue of Xtra, or go to Pridetoronto.com.